UK Asian Film Festival Champions Transgender Identity In “Ek Aasha”

Mayur Katariya’s Ek Aasha will enjoy its UK premiere on Friday March 29 at Regent Street Cinema as part of the UK Asian Film Festival. The film chronicles a transgender girl’s challenging journey to become a teacher in India.

Ek Aasha

Mayur Katariya’s Ek Aasha, a film which chronicles a transgender girl’s challenging journey to become a teacher in India, will enjoy its UK premiere as part of the UK Asian Film Festival on March 29 at Regent Street Cinema.

A landmark film, Ek Aasha features non-professional actors from Mumbai, Delhi and Surat in all the transgender roles, each having transitioned in real life. Thanks to both traditional and modern prejudices, transgender people, although a growing community with an estimated five million in the country, still suffer discrimination causing even the simplest dreams to be unattainable.

In Katariya’s effort, we meet Aashish, an aspiring teacher who has struggled with his gender identity since childhood. He leaves home and joins a traditional transgender community (known as Hijras). The film focuses on Aashish’s transition into Aasha; the life of a traditional Hindu Hijra in modern India.

“I strongly feel that the Indian transgender community is at a crossroad, given that there is a greater awareness now, I believe with greater understanding and acceptance from their families and society, ‘Hijra’ (transwomen community) members will have more opportunities in a new India and modern world,” says Katariya.

“There are very few Indian novels or films that discuss transgender issues, let alone in a positive light. Our film is an attempt to put transgender people and their stories front and centre. All adult transgender roles (total 11) are played by non-actor transgender people from Mumbai, Delhi and Surat India. We worked extensively with each one of these lovely human beings to establish camaraderie and collaboration.”

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director chaired by Daniel Luther of Queer Asia.

Sticking with the LGBTQ+ theme, Sridhar Rangayan’s Evening Shadows marks the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India and will have its UK premiere at Regent Street Cinema on April 3. The film is set in a conservative southern Indian town where a young, gay man, Kartik, comes out to his mother, derailing the woman’s life, presenting inner turmoil as well as obstacles such as her dogmatic husband and a community not ready for change. The screening will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Daniel Luther, Queer Asia.

Other titles screening at the cinema as part of the UK wide festival include the European Premiere of Tashi, and screenings of Even When I Fall, Dear Molly and many more.

Find out more about the UK Asian Film Festival and books tickets here.

Amilia Totten
About the Author
Amilia Totten is a freelance writer, photographer and erstwhile time-waster. Her eclectic film favourites include the latest Hollywood blockbuster to European avant-garde and the joys of Bollywood.

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    Pushpinder Chowdhry Reply

    ACV announces special reception for transgender film, ‘Ek Aasha’ at UK Asian Film Festival on March 29 Book Now! “Pushpinder Chowdhry, the director of the UK Asian Film Festival and Samir Bhamra, the creative director, have done brilliantly to acquire this film and bring it to the attention of film lovers in the UK.

    “We are very excited to be helping support this screening and be hosting a reception in recognition of this film’s pioneering and powerful message.

    “We look forward to welcoming you to ‘Ek Aasha’ at the UK Asian Film Festival.”

    Sailesh will say a few words about the film and then after the screening, will introduce a discussion about the film chaired by Daniel Luther of Queer Asia.

    ACV will also be taking a closer look at the film next week.

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